In this short passage, there are three profound thoughts. Indeed, they are incredibly profound considering this text was written by a man who lived around 2500 years ago. The first is that God is uncreated, he is the beginning and the end, the first and the last. How can something be uncreated? Everything seems to be created. You yourself were formed in the womb against your own will, even before you had a conscious will. We create things every day by taking something with potential and turning it into something with value. We turn raw meat into an edible meal, turn wood into heat, turn metals into computers. But even those raw ingredients came from somewhere; the meat came from another animal, the wood came from another tree and the metal came from minerals in the Earth. The fact that something can be uncreated is completely antagonistic to our entire human experience. It may appear there is no reason to believe that there is such a thing as “uncreated,” yet Isaiah believes there is a reason. (It may help that he heard God say it Himself.) God mocks the gods of Babylon, Bel and Nebo who were also known as Marduk and Nabu, for being crafted by human hands. Even those who worshipped these gods knew that they were created since both Nabu and Marduk had parents. How can one who is created be anything close to a god? One who has a beginning cannot begin to come close to the power of one who is uncreated, one who IS the beginning. It is also interesting to realize that shortly after Isaiah’s time (relatively speaking, as it is nearly two centuries after the fact) Greek philosophers began to ponder questions of metaphysics and the meaning and even the existence of time. There were some who concluded that time does exist. More than that, they concluded past and future do not exist, but only the present. Two and a half millennia ago, God said, “I am the beginning and the end.” He is the past and the present. He always has been and always will be. In this day, quantum physics affirms the existence of a beginning. The expansion of the universe can be traced backward to a single point in time where it began. The beginning exists, therefore God exists.
Second, God can provide things which cannot be created. While we marvel at our creations, modern technology, architecture and art, though impressive and beneficial to be sure, God creates things that we can only begin to understand. God creates light and darkness. He says he will give us treasures of darkness and riches from secret places. This probably makes me a little odd, but it makes me think about gravity and magnetism. Everyone knows about gravity and magnetism. We know that if you drop something, it will fall. If you place metal near a magnet, they will be attracted. Everyone knows this, yet it is still an incredible mystery. Why do things fall? Why are magnets magnetic? Now you can apply equations all day long and understand exactly how objects will move in certain environments, but no one can explain why matter has a gravitational field or why a magnet has a magnetic field. Wouldn’t it be quite inconvenient if the universe were set up such that gravity actually repelled all matter away from each other? Why do the equations even work? Why are the laws of physics constant? It would be rather chaotic if you were suddenly 100 pounds heavier or lighter from one day to the next based on a non-fixed gravitational constant. Yet someone decided to set up the universe in a way that would be useful for us. That’s a little bit too convenient to call it chance, if you ask me. That was a bit of a tangent, but it is related to God’s creation of light, which is an electro-magnetic wave. The interesting thing about light is that it is affected by gravity. Some guy called Einstein figured that out. Light can be bent through space if the gravitational forces are strong enough. There is a phrase from the Psalms (104:2) that says that God wraps himself in light. How could David have known that this is a physical possibility? Only that God created light, knows everything about it and revealed Himself to David. God promises in this portion of Isaiah to give us these treasures of darkness so that we may know that He is God, and that he calls our name. Knowing that we know hardly anything about light and gravity, even with all our technology and many years of study, convinces me of the intricacy of the universe and the necessity of a Master to tame it.
The last thought is the most important for us as Christians. At the beginning of chapter 44, God promises to pour out his spirit on the descendants of Jacob. We see this come to fruition some seven centuries later during Pentecost. God also promises to give us the choice to be heirs to this promise. He says that those who declare themselves as belonging to the Lord are included in this promise. This is our story as Christians. This is reiterated in Galatians 3, when it says that we get to share in the inheritance of Abraham through Christ and thereby receive the spirit of God.
Today’s Bible reading can be read or listened to at https://www.biblegateway.com/passage/?search=Isaiah+44-48&version=NIV
Tomorrow’s reading will be 2 Kings 18:9-19:37 and Psalm 46 80,135 as we continue on the 2020 Chronological Bible Reading Plan